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WebSideStory Bows HBX
By Kevin Newcomb

February 23, 2004

On-demand Web analytics provider WebSideStory on Monday debuted its next-generation data collection and mining service, HBX.

HBX, the tenth version of the enterprise-class HitBox analytics service, integrates WebSideStory’s real-time data collection architecture with the ability to mine visitor data down to the individual browsing session. The result is up-to-the-second visitor intelligence that is highly actionable.

HBX was developed with extensive input from many of WebSideStory’s 500 enterprise-class customers. HBX replaces the company’s HitBox Enterprise and HitBox Commerce services. New capabilities in HBX help improve online marketing ROI, increase conversions, optimize site content, and increase advertising sales, while building upon WebSideStory’s mission of making Web analytics simple and relevant for the end user.

“We believe that products need to be simple, relevant and real-time,” Chief Marketing Officer Rand Schulman told ASPnews. “Users need to have simple, unambiguous graphical presentation layers that communicate information very quickly. They need to be simple to implement so the ultimate end user can change it without going through IT.”

Split-run, or “A/B” testing gives users quicker feedback on the effects of any design or message changes, and conversion events tracking features let users identify and measure the success of different conversion events, such as completing a forms, downloading a file, or making a purchase. Once identified, key site metrics such as link clicks and internal searches can be tied to these user-defined events.

“The best way to do A/B testing is in real time,” Schulman said. “We have several customers who are monitoring the promotion of their products in real time. What they’re doing is testing pricing, promotion, overall and by demographic information, in 15-minute increments.”

To address the relevance of the product, users are able to access all the data HBX generates via products they already use, like Microsoft Excel, rather than solely through the interface of that software product, Schulman said. “Ultimately, the products need to work within the user’s workflow, they need to be relevant.”

HBX delivers a new level of reporting on internal searches, including search terms across categories, relevant searches, failed searches, and search term conversions. WebSideStory can integrate with any internal search system, but is optimized for the enterprise search product of WebSideStory partner Atomz.

HBX includes custom-defined KPIs (key performance indicators) and affinity reporting, that build upon WebSideStory’s mission of making Web analytics simple and relevant for the end user. Graphical KPIs, including gauges and interactive charts, enable users to chart their site performance against corporate goals. HBX’s affinity reporting enables users to understand and establish relationships between two or more distinctive pages or content groups. For example, those who visited Content Group A, also visited Content Groups C and D. This insight allows a commerce site to optimize cross-sell opportunities and a media site to sell more advertising.

“Web analytics can deliver great value but only if it doesn’t complicate your life — it needs to be straightforward and easy to use,” said Guy Creese, research director of Internet analytics for market research firm the Aberdeen Group. “WebSideStory understands this and has done a good job of championing this theme in the industry.”

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